US to increase military support for Poland: Defense Secretary
March 6, 2014
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has urged more support for NATO member Poland and other allies in Eastern Europe to show solidarity with them in response to Russia’s takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, international media reported on Wednesday.
"This is a time for wise, steady, and firm leadership," Hagel said. "Time for all of us to stand with Ukrainian people in support of their territorial integrity."
Hagel called for "stepping up joint training through our aviation detachment in Poland ... and augmenting our participation in NATO's air policing mission on the Baltic Peninsula."
"This morning the Defense Department is pursuing measures to support our allies," including increased training in Poland and more US aircraft for NATO's air policing mission over Baltic states, Hagel said.
The US will send six additional F-15s and one KC-135 to “augment the mission” in Baltic countries, Hagel said. The U.S. currently provides four F-15s to what’s known as the Baltic Air Policing rotation.